Black Star brought up the innocence issue in alother thread, I figured it deserves it's own thread so here goes.
I am going to name a few cases the anti's cry about and with the help of Dudley Sharps articles I will copy from there.
1) Robert Earl Hayes Nothing about Hayes’ retrial changes the appeals court’s original observation that evidence existed to establish Hayes’ guilt. Hayes has now been convicted of a nearly identical murder in New York, which was committed prior to the murder in Florida. Go to
no. 74 at http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/DPIC.htm
and pages 36-39 at http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/Publications/innocentsproject.pdf
2) Sunny Jacobs -- After the shooting, still at the scene of the murders, a trooper asked Jacobs: "Do you like shooting troopers?" Jacobs response: "We had to."
The best review of the blatant dishonesty of this "Exonerated" case is "The Myth of Innocence", Josh Marquis, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, v 95, No 2, Winter, 2005, Northwestern University School of Law.
Mr. Marquis can be reached at CoastDA@aol.com
, or 503-791-0012.
There is no evidence to support a claim of innocence for Jacobs in the murder of two police officers in Florida. She eventually pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder and was released for time served, after 16 years. Hardly a finding of innocence.
go to pages 40-46 at www (dot) floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/Publications/innocentsproject.pdf
3) David Keaton -- Keaton's defense attorney stated that even without Keaton's numerous confessions, that the eyewitness testimony was likely sufficient to convict Keaton for the capital murder.
Through the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses, Keaton's numerous confessions, as well as those of co-defendants, Keaton was sentenced to death. There is no credible claim for innocence in this case of robbery/murder. The case was overturned on appeal. The prosecution chose not to re prosecute for a number of good reasons -- 1. he was no longer subject to the death penalty, because of changes in the law 2. Keaton was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a robbery that he committed ten days prior to the robbery/murder for which he was sentenced to death and 3. illness of witnesses.
Keaton was sentenced to death in 1971, under the old death penalty law. He was on death row for 13 months when the US Supreme Court overturned all death penalty cases in Furman v Georgia.
Read pages 60-68 at www (dot) floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/Publications/innocentsproject.pdf
4) Delbert Tibbs -- The Florida Supreme Court candidly conceded that it should not have reversed Tibbs' conviction since the evidence was legally sufficient.
The state prosecutor who chose not to retry Tibbs recently explained to the Florida Commission on Capital Crimes that Tibbs “was never an innocent man wrongfully accused. He was a lucky human being. He was guilty, he was lucky and now he is free."
See no.10 at http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/DPIC.htm
and pages 134-138 at www(dot)floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/Publications/innocentsproject.pdf
5) Kerry Max Cook -- The judge, in accepting Cook's no contest plea, said that Cook was guilty of the crime and that the state was capable of proving its case.
This is not a DNA exoneration case.
Mr. Cook was convicted of the murder of Linda Jo Edwards, who was found in her apartment on June 10, 1977, beaten on the head with a plaster statue, stabbed in the throat, chest and back and sexually mutilated. Mr. Cook was arrested 2 months later where he worked as a bartender in Port Arthur. Officers said they found Mr. Cook's fingerprint on Ms. Edwards' apartment door. At first he denied knowing Ms. Edwards. Cook lied. He later said they met at the apartment complex's swimming pool and he went to her apartment. His original conviction resulting in a death sentence was overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct. A 1992 retrial ended in a hung jury. He was again convicted and sentenced to death in 1994. That verdict was overturned in 1996. Before a 4th trial, Mr. Cook pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of murder. He was sentenced to 20 years time served. Mr. Cook took the deal so he could avoid a possible return to death row. By taking the plea, both Cook and his attorneys conceded that this is hardly a case where there is no evidence for guilt and certainly not a case with confirmable actual innocence.
for more on this case, contact David Dobbs at david (at) davidedobbs.com
6) Gary Gauger -- Gauger confessed to the murder of his parents. That confession was thrown out based upon the lack of probable cause to arrest him. Gauger's ex-wife and children filed a wrongful death suit against Gauger in the murder of his parents. Gary's brother remains so convinced of Gary's guilt in the murders of their parents, that he has prepared a review of the case which claims to support Gary's guilt, even though there are now two other people jailed for the murders.
Furthermore, the trial court erroneously imposed a death sentence. The court granted a motion for reconsideration and vacated the sentence less than ten months later in September 1994. The trial court found that it had not considered all the mitigating evidence and concluded that Gauger should not be sentenced to death. People v. Bull, 705 N.E.2d 824, 843 (Ill. 1999); Chicago Tribune (9/23/94). Gauger served a brief time on death row. He was not properly sentenced to death by the trial court. He should never have been sent to death row because the trial court did not finally sentence him to be executed. Gauger’s case is an example of how consideration of mitigating evidence under current law results in a sentence less than death.
see no. 69 at www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com/DPIC.htm
Some additional articles:
"Cross-Examination for a Drama That Puts the Death Penalty on Trial", Adam Liptak, New York Times, January 27, 2005
"Prosecutors take exception to Court TV film", Richard Willing, USA TODAY, 1/24/05http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-01-24-exonerated_x.htm
"The Myth of Innocenceon’t believe everything you see on CourtTV", Joshua Marquis, National Review, 1/27/05 www(dot)nationalreview.com/comment/marquis200501270742.as
Here are a few more examples of those "innocents" removed from death row.
Clarence Smith -- he was removed from the "innocents" list when it was pointed out that this supposedly innocent defendant was convicted in federal court of charges which included the murder for which he had been acquitted in the Louisiana state court.
Delbert Tibbs - the Florida Supreme Court candidly conceded that it should not have reversed Tibbs' conviction since the evidence was legally sufficient. The state prosecutor stated that "Tibbs was never an innocent man wrongly accused. He was a lucky human being. He was guilty, he was lucky and now he is free."
Richard Neal Jones-- At the very least, Jones was present at the murder scene and a party to the conspiracy leading to the murder. His culpability would appear to be no less than that of the actual murderers.
Jerry Bigelow-- conviction and death sentence were reversed for a reasons unrelated to his guilt.
Patrick Croy-- There was no dispute Croy killed the police officer.
John C. Skelton-- the court majority explained: “ . . . the evidence against appellant leads to a strong suspicion or probability that appellant committed the capital offense . . ."
Dale Johnston-- Prior to retrial, the court excluded incriminating statements Johnston made during his initial interrogation as well as incriminating evidence seized due to the interrogation. The prosecution then dismissed the case.
Jimmy Lee Mathers-- The dissent points out that there was still ample evidence of Mathers’ guilt
Bradley Scott-- the available circumstantial evidence "could only create a suspicion that Scott committed this murder."
Jay C. Smith-- the appeals court explained, “Our confidence in Smith’s convictions for the murder of Susan Reinert and her two children is not the least bit diminished -- if anything, the courts have repeatedly reaffirmed their conclusion that Smith was “actually guilty”. Smith’s inclusion on the DPIC List is a “false exoneration” at its most extreme.
Andrew Golden-- the state court noted as follows: "The finger of suspicion points heavily at Golden. A reasonable juror could conclude that he more likely than not caused his wife's death."
Troy Lee Jones--The California Supreme Court held that while the evidence of Jones’ guilt was not overwhelming, it still suggested Jones’ guilt.
Benjamin Harris--Harris admitted taking turns with Bonds in shooting Turner and admitted having a motive to murder Turner.
Robert Hayes-- Nothing about Hayes’ retrial changes the appeals court’s original observation that evidence existed to establish Hayes’ guilt.
Jeremy Sheets-- The appellate court decision explains that Sheets was convicted of a racially motivated murder of a young African American girl. The evidence of Sheets’ guilt included the tape-recorded statements of an accomplice named Barnett, who had died prior to Sheets’ trial. The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the conviction because Sheets could not cross-examine the dead accomplice.
Larry Osborne-- A friend and potential accomplice, who died prior to trial, implicated Osborne in a grand jury proceeding. However, this witness then died prior to the first trial. His grand jury testimony was read at Osborne’s first trial and that conviction was reversed because there was no opportunity for Osborne to cross-examine the witness. On retrial, without the grand jury testimony of the dead witness, the prosecution had insufficient evidence to convince the jury of Osborne’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A complete review of these and additional "innocent" cases can be found in Footnote 2, below. Most of the case descriptions, above, are edited from Campbell's review (2a).
No one disputes that innocents are found guilty, within all countries. However, when scrutinizing death penalty opponents claims, we find that when reviewing the accuracy of verdicts and the post conviction thoroughness of discovering those actually innocent incarcerated, that the US death penalty process may be the most accurate criminal justice sanction in the world. Under every debated scenario, not executing murderers
will always put many more innocents at risk.